Honor the real Dr. King

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail

Tomorrow, we struggle to honor Martin Luther King, an American hero. While for many white people, this takes the form of a three-day weekend and clearance sales, still others misremember the man as little more than a gentle preacher who “had a dream”, known for nonviolent protests and beloved by all. It’s time to explode that comfortable myth.

Dr. King was a radical. He was an outspoken critic of the undermining of Black resistance by well-meaning white people, of American imperialism, of capitalism, and of war. When you read Letter from Birmingham Jail, you see a man who is tired of waiting for white supremacy to discover its foundational error, who will struggle on toward truth at the cost of popular approval. Martin Luther King wasn’t popular, and his willingness to challenge power and privilege cost him his life.

The struggle endures. The GOP continues to suppress the votes of people of color, to prevent free and fair elections (the only way they can win). As we gear up for this year’s crucial elections, let’s take inspiration from King’s resistance. Let’s fight back, in King’s name as well as our own.


ONE THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW


Join the campaign to Let People Vote, led by the ACLU.


UPCOMING EVENTS


Women’s March: Noe Valley contingent!
Saturday, January 20th
12:30pm – 3:30pm
Join our fellow activists Action SF for the Women’s March. GET THE DETAILS

Stand Up SF General Meeting
Sunday, January 21
2pm – 4pm
Noe Valley Public Library
451 Jersey Street
REGISTER NOW

You can defeat Roy Moore

Hey, you. Yes, you, blue-stater. Do you want to keep a pedophile out of the Senate? Do you want to put a Democrat into a historically Republican Senate seat, to help us win close votes on critical nominations and issues like health care and tax bills?

Do you want to stop Roy Moore, a serial harasser and assaulter of teenage girls, and proponent of slavery and of outlawing homosexuality, from becoming Alabama’s next senator?

You can help Democrat Doug Jones win that Senate seat. You just need two spare hours, a comfy chair, and a computer. You don’t have to pick up the phone. You just have to send a few texts.

Election day in Alabama is this Tuesday, and the race, incredibly, is too close to call. We have TWO DAYS to make a difference!


ONE THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW


Get out the vote. Sign up for a shift at Indivisible’s text-bank for Doug Jones today, tomorrow, or Tuesday, anytime from 7am to 7pm.


NEWS


You might have noticed you haven’t seen an email from Phyllis in a while. She’s had to step away from Stand Up San Francisco for personal reasons, for an indefinite time. We are looking forward to reconnecting with her at the holiday party.

I am thrilled to announce that Rachel has joined our leadership team as of this week, and she will be working with Paul and me to steer Stand Up SF. She has a lot of great ideas about our work on the 2018 elections and we’re thrilled to have her aboard. She will be contributing as a member of our Policy Team as well. Please join me in welcoming Rachel to leadership!

We are continuing to recruit great leaders like Rachel! If you or someone you know has energy to give to Stand Up SF, check out the opportunities on our volunteer page. Want to do something but don’t see it listed? Just drop us a line.


UPCOMING EVENTS


Brown Bag Lunch with Sen. Feinstein Staff
Monday, December 11th
12pm
Rooftop garden (weather permitting), Crocker Galleria
50 Post St
REGISTER NOW

SF stands against hate. Meanwhile…

As I write this, police in Berkeley have deployed tear gas against counter-protesters who jumped the barricades in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, and many are fleeing the scene, while some exchange blows. Others are being arrested.

My emotions are mixed. I can understand why the people of Berkeley felt they had to defend their city against Nazis and the KKK, and I am angry that the police are responding with force. I am saddened that the clash of ideas so often leads to violence, even as I recognize the emotional and physical violence enacted by white supremacy, and wonder every day, every hour, how to stop it. I am annoyed that Patriot Prayer will no doubt spin this weekend’s events as an impingement of their First Amendment rights. And I am relieved to have had a peaceful, celebratory day in San Francisco yesterday myself.

Federal and local authorities bent over backwards to provide a peaceful environment for yesterday’s “free speech rally”, and Gibson responded by trying to move his event to Alamo Square Park. When that didn’t work, he retreated out of the city, ultimately holding a “press conference” in an obscure wooded area in Pacifica. San Franciscans rejoiced at driving hate from our city without exchange of blows. I squirmed a little internally as I always do when I find myself on the same side as the police.

Yesterday in San Francisco, it was almost possible to forget the events of Friday afternoon: Trump pardoning loathsome racist Joe Arpaio and banning transgender people from the military, and the southern US prepared for a massive hurricane just weeks after Trump rolled back flood protections. While rainbow flags flew among a predominantly-white crowd at SF City Hall, the nation took giant steps backward, enshrining institutional racism, homophobia, inequity, and insecurity. At least Sebastian Gorka is gone?

three young women at the Civic Center counter-protest, holding signs saying Make America Kind Again, Unite Against Hate, and White Silence = White Violence

——
Summer recess is drawing to a close, and we have a lot of work to do.

We’re sending a delegation to Senator Harris’ town hall this week, to demand that she continue to protect Americans from the worst depradations of this administration, and to ensure the Russia investigation continues unimpeded. If you’re registered to attend, you’ll be receiving talking points shortly.

Meanwhile, mark your calendar for our next general meeting, Sunday, September 17th at 2pm with special guest speaker Rafael Mandelman, President of San Francisco City College’s Board.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Protect immigrant kids: Trump is threatening to rescind DACA. Call all three MoCs and thank them for co-sponsoring the DREAM Act to protect kids who have grown up in the US from being deported. Tell them how important this issue is to you and make sure they stand strong. (script and call tool)
  • Stop fracking: The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on the withdrawal of fracking rules. Send a personal message to Secretary Zinke demanding that all protections against fracking are maintained.
  • End lengthy and unfair drug sentences: Call California legislators and ask them support SB 180, the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement Act (RISE) Act. The RISE Act would repeal the three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions. (background and script)

Actions with other groups

Our eyes have been opened

Many of us have spent the week learning the subtleties of the white supremacy present here in our country. I myself learned that the bulk of  confederate statues were erected not right after the civil war to “preserve history,” but at times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of dominance against blacks. The statues symbolize this white terror against blacks. I learned that at least some KKK leaders believe their organization is a “Christian group.” As the President of UT Austin said as he took down four confederate statues this week: Our eyes have been opened.

On a happy note, we hand-delivered the cards many of us got to sign thanking our Members of Congress for their tireless work to save our healthcare. Our MoCs were touched to get such a personal outpouring of appreciation. Congresswoman Pelosi spent several minutes with us, and had her staff take this photo.

Now let me turn to this weekend’s events. As you know, a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer is holding a “Freedom Rally” at Crissy Field on Saturday. The permit has been granted. Here are some things you should know:

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center says this group holds rallies to provoke violence.
  • The Anti-Defamation League says far-right groups target liberal cities for their events because they expect, and want, a confrontational response. Footage of their members being physically assaulted makes for great propaganda videos, and great recruitment. And, when their events gain strong media coverage, they tend to return.
  • The group has hired the Oath Keepers to “protect” them. Believe me, these are not folks you want to have over for dinner.
  • Sports Basement has announced it will close that day to protect employees and customers. Some other businesses in the Presidio will also be closed.
  • The permit conditions for the Patriot Prayer event prohibit weapons of any kind.
  • The Crissy Field location is under the jurisdiction of federal law. All event attendees are subject to federal law.
  • Advice excerpted from Southern Poverty Law Center’s Ten Ways to Fight Hate:

Do not attend a hate rally. As much as you might like to physically show your opposition to hate, confrontations serve only the perpetrators. Many communities facing a hate group rally have held alternative events at the same hour, some distance away, emphasizing strength in community and diversity.

We’ve been rounding up all the  peaceful rallies that are away from Crissy Field on our blog. There are many to choose from. (I will be at the Ocean Beach event, making a huge human heart banner that will be photographed from a helicopter overhead!)

If you decide to go to one of the events at Crissy Field, it might be good to review this Amnesty International 1-pager, Safety During Protests, as well as the National Park Service page of rules for the event.

Stand Up SF actions:

  • Seb Gorka, one of Trump’s top aides, is believed to be a member of a Hungarian Nazi organization. For five  months, three Senators have been asking whether Gorka is under investigation for falsifying his U.S. naturalization application by failing to disclose his membership in a neo-Nazi organization. Call all 3 Members of Congress and tell them enough is enough, we need answers on Gorka or we need him to leave.
  • Trump has nominated Sam Clovis to serve as the chief scientist for the US Department of Agriculture. But Clovis is a climate denier, not a scientist, and he has a well-documented history of racism and bigotry. The vote is likely to take place when the Senate gets back in session. Call Senators Feinstein and Harris and tell them: Vote NO on a climate-denier for a key science position.
  • Deadline Aug 30: The FCC has extended its deadline for public comments on net neutrality. Net neutrality is what stops internet service providers from controlling what we see and how fast we see it. It is critical for resistance efforts like ours. We’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment! Just go to this page. Even if you’ve submitted a comment in the past, you can submit another one. Please do! We need all voices.

Actions with other groups:

Stand up to racism.

I’m just returning from one of our most substantive, deep and informative all-group meetings yet, and I want to share some of the issues and resources we discussed with those of you who weren’t able to make it.

We celebrated the victory of the resistance effort in saving the Affordable Care Act at the end of July. If you haven’t done so already, by all means please call your senators and congresswoman to thank them!

We caught up on the increasing instability of and defections from the Trump Administration. The tide is turning — even in Charleston, South Carolina, where our sister group Indivisible Charleston notes that their members of Congress and citizens are increasingly speaking out against Donald Trump and his agenda.

We heard reports from members who have attended meetings of two national groups with local contingents:

We noted that the Democratic party has released its party platform, A Better Deal, in which they have established a declaration of principles designed to speak to voters in the 2018 midterms. We also mentioned that other groups have advocated for alternative platforms, such as The People’s Platform and Robert Reich’s 8-Point-Plan.

Stand Up SF will be working towards the 2018 midterms in systemic areas such as defending voting rights, voter registration and mobilization, rather than endorsing particular candidates. At this point, we’re not endorsing any particular platform. I want to encourage you to consider both the policy and the strategic implications of these various platforms.

The appalling white nationalist events in Charlottesville and the scheduled demonstration in San Francisco next Saturday served as the centerpiece of our members’ Open Forum, in which our group members shared their thoughts and feelings about the most effective and safest means of standing up to racism in our town.

We also shared resources for this upcoming week, in preparation for Saturday’s events:

San Francisco Peacefully Unites Against White Nationalists

Ten Ways To Fight Hate from the Southern Poverty Law Center

Protest Safety Training Guide

Interfaith Gathering Against Hate, Friday at 5:30

also, just for some hope:

The White Flight of Derek Black — How a former white nationalist leader changed his views

We will be keeping you posted on events around the August 26 demonstrations as they unfold this week.

I’m so impressed with the commitment and integrity you all bring to this work.

–Paul

 

This week’s Stand Up SF actions:

  • Call Nancy Pelosi’s office to thank her for endorsing the formal censure of Donald Trump for his defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
  • Submit comments to the EPA in support of maintaining the Clean Water Act.

Actions with other groups: